The following essay (The Fallacy of Objectivity. The Dangers of Cognitive Adjustment.) was written sometime around 2010. I am now providing an update about Morality Pills regarding brain alteration (drugging) to increase a person's sense of morality. Morality Pills have recently been mentioned in the New York Times and elsewhere; the website IEET for example.
IEET ironically stands for the Institute of Emerging Ethics and Technology, it is ironic because morality pills are immoral, unethical, they are evil. Note this IEET poll where the majority of IEET readers think morality pills should be widely available. 26% of people polled actually think morality pills should be added to the water supply, mandatory drugging.
If the above IEET poll-link is redirected or otherwise unavailable you can view a frozen Google cache here once you scroll down past the broken image: http://freze.it/Uf. IEET removed their poll results from the first location so I froze a Google cache but the comments where Hank admitted he was one of the 26% have not been cached (email-notification-copies of most comments are available if needed). IEET's new location for the poll will hopefully not be changed but if it is changed again I won't continue to update links therefore you must rely on the Google cache if they change the URL again.
Before including in this update my thoughts arising from a debate about the IEET poll, I will mention how various studies have concluded we should consider adding Lithium to the water thereby decreasing suicide. Dr Moosajee Bhamjee is mentioned in the Guardian; he advocates adding Lithium to the water supply. There has also been research in Texas, Japan, and Austria advocating mandatory Lithium drugging via the water supply. Suicide is a natural response to highly unpleasant situations. People who commit suicide are responding to extreme mental or physical pain. Our perception of pain is vital to determine value therefore the danger of mandatory drugging is that people will become docile slaves willing to meekly accept oppressive circumstances without protest. There is a clear danger people could become mindless nonentities, without high values, happy to accept gross abuses of trust (political corruption). Mandatory Lithium drugging could easily create herds of docile human cattle with values no better than happily chewing the grass in a mediocre field.
It is also pertinent to mention how there have been breakthroughs regarding the creation of a stress vaccine. Dr Robert Sapolsky used a modified herpes simplex virus, as a delivery vehicle for gene therapy, which could theoretically "vaccinate" people against stress. Wired magazine explained Sapolsky's expriments thus: "He has shown that by injecting the amygdala with a modified herpes virus, he can dramatically reduce the anxiety the animals suffer when they’re placed in an open space, where they instinctively fear predators." So in the future instead of being anxious about politicial corruption, people who have been vaccinated against anxiety will very likely have no worries about politicians. I am sure will make the polictians very happy. Tyranny here we come.
Morality pills in combination with the stress vaccine, and lithium added
to the water, constitute alarming proposals for chemical subjugation
of free-will, free-thinking, free-minds.
People should be free to change their minds and bodies in any way they
desire. I object to the morality pill because discussion of a morality
pill long before the causes of hostility have been addressed is
intellectually flawed. The immorality problem is not a fault with the individual it is a fault with the socioeconomic system. The pill seems to be a knee jerk reaction from the middle classes who wrongly assume all anti-establishment feeling is immoral. We are considering a pill which makes people "nicer by increasing their patience and empathy" so maybe it would be given to all
people who are arrested for public order offenses. #OWS
protesters for example are not patient or nice from the viewpoint of Wall Street bankers. I am sure many politicians would like to see
OWS protesters being given a morality pill. I suspect the middle classes are largely responsible
for the knee jerk desire to see widespread usage of morality pills, but
not of course for their own personal usage.
Bio-modification is appropriate if people want it but I
don't see masses of people wanting an increased morality modification. I
am reasonably sure all the people advocating it don't consider
themselves to be in need of increased morality, they do not think their
morality is flawed, they want the pill for other people, thus in this
situation modification is not appropriate, a situation where one person
wants to apply it to another person, a situation where there is no real
desire for it in the person to whom it is applied.
Over reliance on external agencies for the management
of consciousnesses tends to debilitate intellect. For example health and
safety laws make people less alert because people have
surrendered their safety management to external agencies to protect
them. Decreased alertness means people are less observant less
thoughtful. Technology can aid us immensely but I also think people
should be self-reliant (self-determinism) whenever possible. People can
use their minds to be more cooperative. I don't see a pressing need for
a cooperative pill especially when the people who want it implemented
don't seem willing to take it themselves (with the exception of the 26% who want morality pills added to the water supply,
or maybe not if they have an alternate drinking water supply such as
In the year 2045 it might be OK if the brain withers and dies, replaced
by more competent mechanisms, but in the interim period I think people
should use their brains as much as possible. I have issues with the
source of the "problem". It is my view that the source of the problem
does not principally reside within the brain, it is a problem of
economics and politics, this is the source of immorality (lack of
Our priority should be to address the causes of hostility. First we should fix the causes before people start radically altering their minds based upon a
soon to be outdated sociopolitical system. Morality pills are akin to investing all your money in a petrol-engine-car a few months before
all petrol supplies run out and all cars become solar-power based.
Altering the mind in for morality or pleasure
amplification, or editing memories, or any other drastic modification, it is a powerful step and
potentially extremely damaging because the mind is the core of who we
are. Morality pills will soon be irrelevant because all immorality is based upon our
soon to be obsolete sociopolitical system.
Morality drugs sound like Brave New World Soma, which was clearly bad. Excessive
safety is actually very unsafe. It is very dangerous if you erode all
freedoms. You can make the world very safe but the loss of liberty is
very dangerous. It is dangerous to weaken personal independence,
self-determinism. For example someone may say our safety could be
enhanced if our brains were re-engineered to always involuntarily follow
the instructions of the police, but if the police are corrupt then it
is very dangerous. Consider the brainwashing in A Clockwork Orange . Breakout the Victory Gin.
is such a wide-ranging issue impacting upon the core of our
identities; but if we are talking about mere love and compassion then
legalize Ecstasy, MDMA, which increases love without excessively
altering our ideologies, our morals, but Ecstasy should be never made
mandatory. MDMA is emasculating therefore ideally people should not need to use it, but it isn't
the downright evil of the morality pill, therefore if people want to use it they should be free to do so. I am less concerned about MDMA
because it is already in usage with clear examples of how it doesn't
alter our brain structures in authoritarian ways.
I want to you assume civilization is mentally ill. We
are all suffering from mass psychosis, we are deranged which is why
humans are frequently irrational. Now consider how definitions of sanity
can become skewed therefore an insane person makes flawed decisions
based upon their insanity, which H G Wells explained in The County of
The Blind, and Dr Erich Fromm explained in The Sane Society when he
stated alienated psychiatrists will define mental health based upon the
alienated personality, therefore they will consider sick what is
actually healthy, and sickness will be considered health. Note also
I am all for
extreme modification of humans but such modification must only be done
when we have a truly clear picture of reality, which means we first need
to eliminate the causes of hostility (our sociopolitical system of
scarcity). Morality pills are comparable to investing all your money in a petrol-engine-car a few months before all petrol (gasoline) supplies run out and all cars
become solar-power based. During this era I therefore lean towards
changes to external circumstances instead of adapting humans to the
circumstances. You could irrevocably adapt humans to circumstances only to discover a short while later the circumstances are very bad, furthermore the bad circumstances are due to be obsolete. Some Transhumanists are too hasty. Considering if we live
long enough we will live forever, I feel it is better to wait before
rushing into a potentially very authoritarian type of modification.
am not squeamish. It is simply silly to rush into non-essential medical
intervention which could alter your body in damaging ways. If the body
is truly obsolete in 2012 let's watch Stelarc discard his body tomorrow. I
suspect people such as Stelarc are motivated by deep self disgust and
not a desire to progress. I suspect Transhumanists who want to blindly
rush into radical emotion or morality modification are actually
emotionally disturbed but instead of confronting their emotional repression
they want to excise their emotions or modify their minds in other ways.
It is important to make decisions with full awareness of your motives.
Freedom is the highest moral. IEET readers are horrendously immoral, incredibly unethical, if they endorse morality pills. Sadly the irony of their immorality is lost on them. Morality pills are evil.
Morality pills are slavery. A total abomination. It is utter depravity, utterly immoral that people are even considering such a proposition.
Unfortunately I doubt the type of specious morality being considered will protect the moral right of free will.
Via tackling the fallacy of objectivity this essay raises important points about rationality, reality, subjectivity, the future of the human race. AI and the forthcoming futuristic neural/cognitive augmentation are very positive advances but they must not be compulsory. Due to the inescapable fact of subjective bias - cerebral augmentation or adjustment must not be forced onto people. This is an essay I wrote regarding the fallacy of objectivity and the dangers of cognitive adjustment.
Objectivity is a fallacy because if a human removes himself or herself from his or her emotions and perceptions the human then ceases to be human. It is simply not possible to be objective. Emotions are essential for higher brain functioning. Emotions can never be objective.
Views corresponding to reality are defined as truth (accuracy). The question we need to consider is this: what is reality? Humans possess emotions. The human possession of emotions is an important truth from my viewpoint. Emotions are a fundamental aspect of high-level-cognition. Emotions motivate intellectual (analytical) endeavours. Pain, pleasure, happiness, sorrow, and despair are powerful motivating factors. Without such emotional motivations cognition would lobotomized. Emotions are essential for consciousness. What therefore is the truth or accuracy of emotions (reality)? In our modern-repressive-world there is a tendency to shun emotions. Objectivity is the great falsehood of modern thinking because objectivity is impossible. Objectivity is a delusion akin to believing you can pull yourself up by your own boot-strings. Reality-fascism (emotion-fascism) demeans the value of subjectivity.
Reality is processed within the brain of each individual. Reality (for individuals) does not exist if there are no individuals to make it real. If no humans were alive then reality would not exist. "Reality" is a human invention; it is a word utterly dependent upon the existence of humans for it to be real. We can speculate about the reality of animals (or trees and rocks) but because animals cannot understand the concept of "reality in humans terms" we cannot be sure "reality" exists for animals. Reality is a subjective experience. Reality is something unique for each individual. There are common things we can agree on within reality because we all share the human-commonality, but despite commonalities each of our realities differs because we all tread different paths in life causing us to experience different personality-changing emotions. Subjectivity is therefore the epitome of rationality.
THE IDEAL MIND, PERSONALITY, THOUGHTS, ACTIONS.
Regardless of differing personalities (induced by differing life-paths) it is possible there is an ideal type of thinking, feeling, action, reality, rationality, or personality for all situations and all people. This ideal hypothetical, globally applicable, modality of thought and feeling is not objectivity because it does not come from outside the human existential system. The problem is that anyone outside the human system (such as a hypothetical God, A.I., or Aliens) cannot accurately determine the true type of ideal cognition for humans. Furthermore nobody is outside the system, all entities are tainted by their bias, their subjectivity.
This ideal universal mode of thought and feeling for humans, implied by so-called "objectivity", could be true for the entire human race but all humans are tainted by their own bias, their subjectivity, thus we cannot decree a universal solution for human cognition. What is right and what is wrong? Differences of opinion between individual minds (personality and reality) could be due to delusional, flawed thinking, whereby some people misunderstand reality; or different world views possessed by humans could occur because there are many equally valid worldviews.
This human problem of values arises because we analyze all situations (and ourselves) via potentially flawed measuring devices (our subjective human minds), therefore how can we say who is truthful and who is deluded? Honesty is the solution, but only to thine own self be true can we be true. Many people think they are being true, but many people allege many people are deluded. Sometimes people think they are being true when they are not. Everyone has at one time made a mistake, but I cannot truly assert all people have been mistaken about reality on at least one occasion. I am not intimately familiar with every individual mind in the world, furthermore such intimacy with another mind is impossible. The external measurement of honesty (the evaluation of honesty in others) is a biased measurement based upon the peculiarities of the individual mind responsible for the measurement.
Internal measurement of honesty will always the ultimate form of truthful measurement because we are subjective. When we wish to impose our measurements on other people we lean towards fascism and when we accept people (their ideologies and feelings for who they are) we lean towards anarchism. The ultimate reality-mind-personality-rationality-fascism (measured from the deluded objectivity viewpoint) would be to impose futuristic nanobot brain-rewriting upon everyone to create a uniform mind-personality for all individuals, but who will decide the pattern? The subjective (truthful) viewpoint sees how we are all individuals, thus all biased, therefore we must not force other people to conform to our views because we cannot be certain we are truthful. Subjectivity is rationality. Rationality is the potential to recognize how our minds could be deluded. All realities are true. Everybody is rational (or irrational). We can only hope that the majority of people agree with our individual truths. We can never really know another person's mind.
Technology and science is a good thing but we should never utilize knowledge to impose supposedly universal truths onto people. Diversity and subjectivity must be upheld. Demand cognitive sovereignty.
Notes from the pre-Singularity era:
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